The city of Atlanta issued a “Housing Affordability Action Plan” on June 25, drawing together a diverse slate of tactics for improving residential stability and equity that touches on several recent concerns in Buckhead.

The lengthy plan elaborates a major agenda of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ administration and ties together ideas compiled from a wide variety of public, private and nonprofit agencies and organizations.

Among the concepts mentioned in the plan that have been hot topics in Buckhead are affordability in transit-oriented development; partnering with Atlanta BeltLine Inc. on affordability around that multiuse path; expanding homestead property tax exemptions and increasing their amounts; and inclusionary zoning that requires a certain amount of lower-than-market-rate units in new developments.

Housing affordability is the subject of a study underway by Livable Buckhead and the Buckhead Community Improvement District, and is among the new priorities of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods – though those efforts are largely couched in terms of reducing commuter traffic. The loss of affordable units and displacement of tenants at the Darlington Apartments last year was a major housing controversy for the neighborhood.

“Affordability is the foundation of any livable and thriving community,” said Bottoms in a press release. “Creating and preserving affordable housing is critical to the future of all those who call Atlanta home. For too many residents, their ZIP code determines their opportunities. This action plan is a vision for a more equitable city where each Atlantan has access to quality, and safe affordable housing. As our city continues to grow, we want to ensure neighborhoods in the north, south, east and Westside remain welcoming and inclusive places for all.”

To read the full plan, click here.

The city’s list of the plan’s main goals and “initiatives” includes:

Create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and increase overall supply

  • Leverage vacant public land for housing
  • Create and expand housing affordability tools
  • Revise the zoning code

Invest $1 billion from public, private, and philanthropic sources in the production and preservation of affordable housing

  • Maximize existing funding sources
  • Develop new funding sources
  • Increase philanthropic and private investment in affordable housing

Ensure equitable growth for all Atlantans and minimize displacement

  • Prevent involuntary displacement
  • Explore the expansion of property tax programs for the creation and preservation of affordable housing
  • Expand awareness of and increase participation in housing affordability programs

Support innovation and streamline processes

  • Establish a Housing Innovation Lab
  • Continually improve building and zoning codes
  • Improve our system for developing and delivering affordable housing
  • Enhance community engagement

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.